Sveriges herrlandslag

Sweden stands tall to qualify for World Cup

3:51 min

Sweden produced a heroic rearguard action against Italy to earn a goalless draw in their second leg play-off in Milan to beat Italy 1-0 on aggregate.

Sweden qualified for the World Cup after a goalless draw in Milan, with Italy failing to qualify for the finals for the first time since 1958

Jakob Johansson’s goal in the first leg in Stockholm was enough to decide the tie for Sweden, who qualify for their first World Cup since 2006.

Johansson himself was stretchered off early in the first-half at San Siro with a serious-looking knee injury. 

The Italians could not breach Sweden's excellent defence, led by captain Andreas Granqvist.

"We had no weapons left. We just had to sit there and hope we could hang on,” said the Sweden coach, Janne Andersson. “We couldn’t do it in any other way, they are so skilful.”

Goalkeeper Robin Olsen, who made a number of fine saves in the second half, was emotional after the match.

"I have never experienced anything like it, the tears are coming. To help my country to the World Cup, it is big," he told Swedish Radio.

His counterpart in the Italian goal, Gianluigi Buffon, who collected his 175th cap, called time on his international career. 

Coach Andersson, who fended off post-match questions about a possible return for Zlatan Ibrahimovic, said it was a collective effort.

"It was a demonstration of how strong we are as a group," he said. "We have many heroes tonight. Obviously I'm somewhat taken over by emotions and obviously very happy."

"I am very happy but above all happy for these players. For many of them it was probably the last chance to get to the World Cup," Andersson added.

The draw for the World Cup in Russia will be made on December 1.

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